I’m not doing a huge post today because its been kind of a bad few days emotionally for me. It’s my own fault, really – it was not smart to watch Les Miserables, Bridge to Terebithia, Seven Pounds, Benjamin Button, and Marley and Me all in one week. However, something good has come of this because it’s started me thinking about sadness and how to deal with it. In this case I’m not talking so much about sadness with a reason that you can pinpoint – that kind of sadness needs to be confronted and dealt with before it will go away – but rather, purposeless sadness. What do you do when, like me, you’re feeling down for no reason? It’s almost impossible to talk it out because, with nothing specific making me feel this way, there’s nothing specific to talk about. However, going into hiding until its over doesn’t seem a viable option because you can’t put your life on hold for sadness, as much as you may want to. Below the cut is a list of a few possible healthy coping strategies…
- Find an excuse to drive (or just hide up in mt room), put on loud happy music, and sing along with the radio/cd as loudly and expressively as I can!
- Go out and purchase a chai latte (replace this with any food/drink that makes you really happy) or fix myself a cup of tea (usually something with the word “calm” in the name because I find it has a placebo effect – it says it will make me calm, I believe it, so it does!) Tea is especially good because I find the process of making it soothing as well. **
- Help a friend with their problems (depending on how stable I feel) or just doing something nice for someone else – the self-esteem boost that comes from being a good friend/person in general does wonders for sadness.
- Open up my closet and work on putting together new outfits – I usually make a huge mess but its fun, free, and distracting!
- Head to the library or pull out a favorite book to help get out of my own head for a little bit.
- Find an excuse to drive, get into the car and scream or rant or whine or whatever to myself about anything and everything that is bothering me.
- Sit down at the computer/ with a pad of paper and just write (or draw if you’re so inclined) about anything… eventually the cause of your sadness should work its way out.
- Go somewhere to be alone for an hour or so and just have a good, long cry… the physical act of expelling tears usually helps me to let the sadness “out” of me as well. (This goes for girls and boys – the notion that boys can’t cry is far to harmful for men to be a good idea)
- Share your sadness with someone else, even if you don’t have a reason for that sadness… chances are a close friend or family member may even be able to help you come to an understanding of your sadness and work through it.
Obviously the same approaches don’t work for everyone – for instance, some people close to me swear by exercising away any sadness but, for me, exercise leaves my mind too open to wandering and tends to just make it worse. This list was just intended as a jumping-off point to help people discover new ways of dealing with sadness that they maybe hadn’t considered before. Comment and tell us about the things that work for you!
** I am NOT advocating food as a way to cope with emotions – if you find yourself eating constantly out of sadness or relying primarily on food to make you happy, then you should seek out help and support to get over the dependency. With that said, a little treat every so often can do wonders towards putting a person in a better mood!